We had the good fortune of connecting with Sharmila Mali and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sharmila, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Having your own business is a huge risk–it’s a huge leap of faith! I have felt very uncomfortable (to say the least) with my choice of doing Reiki–something most people don’t understand, and the fact that it’s kind of an intangible concept to grasp for most people. It felt risky to explain what I do, what Reiki is, what energy healing is, how it can be most helpful. Being a person that offers intuitive energy healing certainly keeps you on your toes, and requires you to have a lot courage to tell people via social media, public talks, and putting flyers with your face, phone number around town. I have definitely felt paralyzed with fear for being called a snake-oil saleswoman, and luckily someone did do that on facebook years ago and it wasn’t so bad. Someone posted my flyer I had online for a Reiki class in some rando discussion (not about me or Reiki) and complained about the price, and another person called me a charlatan. I was mortified, I live in a small town and knew from afar some of these people. Of course, they wouldn’t have said that to my face, so I replied to this guy and offered to have that person contact me, and all of our comments were removed by the original poster in my defense. It was a great experience to have that fear realized. It was painful and brought up so many things for me, but I was glad to finally have that happen, and I lived through it to tell the tale!

For me risk-taking on this career path has been one of huge financial, personal and time risk. Though the fear of “putting myself out there” was so uncomfortable, it held me back for many years to be honest. BUT, I am pulled forward because I am here to help others, and these gifts once out of my pandora’s box, can’t and won’t be put back in, no matter how hard I tried to ignore them. I have come across a lot of people who have come to my Reiki classes and have told me how they ignored their spiritual gifts and how painful it was to deny their gifts and talents, how it blocked their creativity, and felt miserable. They bravely took a personal risk and entered my class with an open heart to discover and felt validated that their gifts mattered and could be used to help themselves and others as well. It was very freeing for them, to say the very least!

Financial risk because if I don’t let people know about my services, I can’t pay my bills. The personal risk, well, I explained that really well. The risk of time, you spend a lot, and time isn’t something you can get back. Sometimes I felt like I was wasting my time because I was so afraid of putting myself out there, I didn’t want to take the risk, and again, I had to come back to the reason I was doing it in the first place. In my darkest place, I tried to imagine me not sharing these spiritual gifts that were given to me and I cultivated, and imagined myself not doing it, and it was like a huge boomerang coming back to me, telling me ‘NOPE, this is what you are here to do for others and yourself, you have no choice.” And as annoying as that message was, it has been that inner flame that has burned in me, and kept me going even when I wasn’t pulling in zero dollars. this career path has been a journey, and I will keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how tiny or how big the step is, I keep moving forward.

What should our readers know about your business?
I am most proud of my integrity. The work that I do can be very intense, and before someone signs up to work with me, I tell them, this problem isn’t going to go away overnight and it may take a few sessions. I don’t sugarcoat it, and I don’t say yes to every person that calls me up, I know my limits and capacity and always refer out when I feel that I cannot help the person. Over the years, people have asked me to teach a Reiki class the next day or they want a quick class that can be done over a couple of hours. My triple bottom line is: integrity, passion and knowledge.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them bicycling through the east end, look for farm stands to buy whatever was in season at the time–lemons, avos, pomegranates, etc. There are parts of Ojai that remind me of the Italian countryside, with the low rock walls lining the large acerage. My favorite time of the year is in the spring, the intoxicating aromas of orange blossom and jasmine which is best-experienced walking or riding a bike. During covid, when my partner’s Mom would come out of isolation, we would get food to go and walk a few feet to Libbey Park. Fun fact, that is where we had our first date, which was kind of blind because we met on a dating app.

There is an amazing baker, Kate’s Bread who has a bakeshop out of her home, but you have to pre-order because she only does it twice a week, so I would order some sourdough bread along with her amazeball pain au chocolat (my partner loves her ham and cheese croissants) and go to another park in town, Soule Park. On the way if you are into wine, there many tasting rooms to choose from or IPA’s on tap, get some spreads and cheeses at Westridge Market. I don’t drink alcohol so I can’t say too much about that!

And if I didn’t plan well and Kate’s sourdoughs are sold out, it’s a good thing there is Claude’s bread at his restuarant at Ojai Rotie, which has bread every day they are open. His sourdough boules are to die for. In fact you could just eat there and get some rotisserie chicken, they have an incredible wine selection and really yummy house made lemonade.

At night take a hot plunge at Ecotopia on a moonlit night, in the natural hot springs which is nestled above Ojai in a canyon. The sky is filled with so many stars. It’s simply beautiful.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Definitely a shout-out to my man, my brother and parents for supporting me! The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle really solidified the purpose of living in the present and all the bad-ass women I met who have become my soul-sisters, and my biz coach Alexi Aldine.

Website: sharmilamali.com

Instagram: sharmila_the_self_love_expert

Other: theconfidenthealer.net podcast

Image Credits
Angie Broennimann she took the photos with the murals

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